Project Imagine launches initiative to help adults become credible messengers for young people

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 5:18 PM EDT
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Project Imagine is launching an initiative to help previously incarcerated adults succeed and help the younger generation.

Project Imagine steers youth from gang activity by developing relationships with mentors and focusing on their goals. Those goals include having no contact with law enforcement, improving grades, completing school, and becoming employed.

Since 2018, 101 teens have participated in Project Imagine. They maintain contact with around 70% of participants.

They are now starting a program for adults who had been incarcerated or are on probation to become credible messengers.

A credible messenger has the ability to be a mentor to young people who are going through similar situations.

“This credible messenger class will help you understand that you have to respect young people,” said Curtis Artis, Assistant Violence Prevention Manager for the city of Danville. “You have to respect all people, and at least listen to what they’re saying, so you know why they’re doing what they’re doing. Have empathy but not sympathy.”

They will train six adults at a time beginning next month.

Curtis Artis will release his book called “Credible Messenger as an Outreach Worker” in June on all platforms.